GS_Wildlife

Much of the inhabited part of the Grand Staircase area is farming and ranching country.
While I was traveling through the area primarily to view the spectacular scenic vistas and
geology of Southern Utah and did not have lenses appropriate for wildlife opportunities,
 I occasionally encountered some ranch animals. These are some of those photographs.

This page contains images of llama on a ranch in Loa, Utah near Capitol Reef, including
a mating ritual and some close portraits. It also has images of sheep on Boulder Mountain
and a cow and calf that blocked travel on Cottonwood Canyon Road near Grosvenor Arch.

Click an image to open a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Grand Staircase Escalante Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 7 Galleries in the Photoshelter Grand Staircase Escalante Collection

Direct Link to the Grand Staircase Wildlife gallery:

Grand Staircase Wildlife

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Llamas Loa Utah 1297
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Loa, Utah is the Wayne County Seat. Settled by Mormon pioneers in 1876, its name means
high, large and powerful in Hawaiian (it was named by a missionary who had served in Hawaii).
Loa is on State Route 24, not far from Capitol Reef National Park. It is a small town with about
500 people and apparently an equal number of llamas. Llamas are a South American camelid,
raised for its lanolin-free wool and as a livestock guard for sheep herds. A single gelding llama
bods rapidly to sheep (and especially lambs), and is very effective in reducing predator attacks.

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Llama Loa Utah 1285
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Llamas are very social animals and are extremely curious.

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Llama Juvenile Loa Utah 1309
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The juveniles are incredibly cute and very friendly.

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Llama Juvenile Loa Utah 1290
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A juvenile near its mother searches for the clicking sound.

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Llama Juvenile Loa Utah 1294
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This gave me an excellent opportunity for portraits.

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Llama Juvenile Loa Utah 1292
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Llamas have a two layer coat. The fine undercoat is used for garments and the coarse outer coat for rugs and ropes.

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Llama Juvenile Loa Utah 1293
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Llamas were traditionally used as pack animals in their native South America, especially by Incas in the Peruvian Andes.

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Llama Loa Utah 1296
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Eventually, the juvenile went back to grazing. Note the black-tipped tail.

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Llama Portrait Loa Utah 1299
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An extreme close-portrait of a white llama.

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Llama Portrait Loa Utah 1302
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Profile portrait of a brown llama.

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Llama Portrait Loa Utah 1307
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Llama Portrait Loa Utah 1308
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Two more distant portraits of the same white llama shown in the close portrait.
Note the characteristically long, inward-curved banana-shaped ears of the llama.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Grand Staircase Escalante Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 7 Galleries in the Photoshelter Grand Staircase Escalante Collection

Direct Link to the Grand Staircase Wildlife gallery:

Grand Staircase Wildlife

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Llama Courtship Ritual

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1311
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The female approaches the male and sniffs his neck.

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1312
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She then bumps her head under his chin.

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1313
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This is followed by a neck-wrestling session.

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1316
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After the neck-wrestling, both the female and male exchange bites.

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1318
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There is a lot of activity during the biting phase.

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1319
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The male gets in a few bites too...

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Llama Courtship Loa Utah 1321
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... but the female seems to get in most of the bites.

Below is a composite showing 12 of 14 shots taken
during the llama mating ritual, including the denouement.

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Llama Courtship Ritual Loa Utah XXL
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A composite of 12 of the 14 shots taken during a llama mating ritual
(Composite will open in a new window or tab)

The female approaches the male, sniffs his neck, bumps his chin, and they begin to neck-wrestle.
The female nuzzles the males ear, then bites his neck. The male responds by nipping her on the leg.
This begins an exchange of neck bites, during which the female seems to get the best of the encounter.
The male mounts the female in a kush (laying) position. Once finished, she stands up and the male bows.

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Sheep Boulder Mountain 0414
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Sheep climbing the southeastern flank of Boulder Mountain.

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Sheep Boulder Mountain 0417
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A profile closeup of a domestic sheep on Boulder Mountain.

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Paria Valley Cattle 6814
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A cow and her calf blocking Cottonwood Canyon Road across the nearly dried-out Paria River near Grosvenor Arch.

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Paria Valley Cattle 6816
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The cow seemed to be obsessed with licking her nose (or maybe she is tasting the fragrant scents in the air).

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Grand Staircase Escalante Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 7 Galleries in the Photoshelter Grand Staircase Escalante Collection

Direct Link to the Grand Staircase Wildlife gallery:

Grand Staircase Wildlife

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Click the Display Composite above to return to the Grand Staircase Escalante Index page

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